The use of advanced pedagogical methodologies in connection with advanced use of modern information technology (ICT) for delivery enables new ways of communicating, of exchanging knowledge, and of learning that are gaining increasing relevance in our society. Remote laboratory exercises offer the possibility to enhance learning for students in different technical areas, especially to the ones not having physical access to laboratory facilities and thus spreading knowledge in a world-wide perspective. A new “Remote Flutter Laboratory” has been developed to introduce aeromechanics engineering students and professionals to aeroelastic phenomena in turbomachinery. The laboratory is world-wide unique in the sense that it allows global access for learners anywhere and anytime to a facility dedicated to what is both a complex and relevant area for gas turbine design and operation. The core of the system consists of an aeroelastically unstable turbine blade row that exhibits self-excited and self-sustained flutter at specific operating conditions. Steady and unsteady blade loading and motion data are simultaneously acquired on five neighboring suspended blades and the whole system allows for a distant-based operation and monitoring of the rig as well as for automatic data-retrieval.
This paper focuses on the development of the “Remote Flutter Laboratory” exercise as a hands-on learning platform for online and distant-based education and training in turbomachinery aeromechanics enabling familiarization with the concept of critical reduced frequency and of flutter phenomena. This laboratory set-up can easily be used “as is” directly by any turbomachinery teacher in the world, free of charge and independent upon time and location with the intended learning outcomes as specified in the lab, but it can also very easily be adapted to other intended learning outcomes that a teacher might want to highlight in a specific course. As such it is also a base for a turbomachinery repository of advanced remote laboratories of global uniqueness and access. The present work documents also the pioneer implementation of the LabSocket System for the remote operation of a wind tunnel test facility from any Internet-enabled computer, tablet or smartphone with no end-user software or plug-in installation.